Sooraj Barjatya on Uunchai: ‘I just wanted to break this compulsion to prove myself with box office numbers’

After delivering family-friendly blockbusters, filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya says he gravitated towards the quieter world of Unchai–a film about three friends in their 60s on a mission to scale Mount Everest–as he wanted to break free of the box office trap.

Barjatya, known for helming dramas like Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, Hum Saath Saath Hain and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, said the idea to take up Uunchai as his next directorial happened during the pandemic when everyone was talking about the dwindling box office collections of Hindi films.

In a video posted on Rajshri Productions’ YouTube page, Sooraj Barjatya said, “I was in my office and that day there were only talks about how markets are going down, films are not doing well, no film is collecting money.

“I just felt I want to make one film where I am not concerned about how many dancers, songs, what is going to be the first day collection. Because all my life I have been competing.”

According to Sooraj Barjatya, somebody else was supposed to direct Uunchai, but on that day, when there were only talks about “numbers, turnover, buying, selling,” something shifted within the filmmaker.

“I wanted to make one film without bothering (about numbers). I remember telling Anupam sir also that I want to make a film for myself. For Uunchai, I just wanted to break this compulsion to prove myself with box office numbers. It was liberating. I just wanted to take one big challenge. At the drop of a hat, I just picked up this subject and it didn’t leave me,” he added.

Written by Sunil Gandhi and Abhishek Dixit, stars Uunchai Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam KherBoman Irani, Danny Denzongpa, Parineeti Chopra, Neena Gupta and Sarika. Jointly produced by Rajshri Productions, Boundless Media and Mahaveer Jain Films, the film is scheduled to release on November 11.

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